IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/lev/wrkpap/wp_689.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Effects of Legal and Unauthorized Immigration on the US Social Security System

Author

Listed:
  • Selcuk Eren
  • Hugo Benitez-Silva
  • Eva Carceles-Poveda

Abstract

Immigration is having an increasingly important effect on the social insurance system in the United States. On the one hand, eligible legal immigrants have the right to eventually receive pension benefits but also rely on other aspects of the social insurance system such as health care, disability, unemployment insurance, and welfare programs, while most of their savings have direct positive effects on the domestic economy. On the other hand, most undocumented immigrants contribute to the system through taxed wages but are not eligible for these programs unless they attain legal status, and a large proportion of their savings translates into remittances that have no direct effects on the domestic economy. Moreover, a significant percentage of immigrants migrate back to their countries of origin after a relatively short period of time, and their savings while in the United States are predominantly in the form of remittances. Therefore, any analysis that tries to understand the impact of immigrant workers on the overall system has to take into account the decisions and events these individuals face throughout their lives, as well as the use of the government programs they are entitled to. We propose a life-cycle Overlapping Generations (OLG) model in a general equilibrium framework of legal and undocumented immigrants' decisions regarding consumption, savings, labor supply, and program participation to analyze their role in the financial sustainability of the system. Our analysis of the effects of potential policy changes, such as giving some undocumented immigrants legal status, shows increases in capital stock, output, consumption, labor productivity, and overall welfare. The effects are relatively small in percentage terms but considerable given the size of our economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Selcuk Eren & Hugo Benitez-Silva & Eva Carceles-Poveda, 2011. "Effects of Legal and Unauthorized Immigration on the US Social Security System," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_689, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_689
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_689.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
    2. Timothy Miller & Ronald Lee, 2000. "Immigration, Social Security, and Broader Fiscal Impacts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 350-354, May.
    3. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Sagiri Kitao, 2010. "Social Security, Benefit Claiming and Labor Force Participation: A Quantitative General Equilibrium Approach," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2010-02, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2010.
    4. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, February.
    5. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "Labor supply elasticity and social security reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 867-878, August.
    6. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2011. "The Effects of Health Insurance and Self‐Insurance on Retirement Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 693-732, May.
    7. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    8. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    9. Poul Schou, 2006. "Immigration, integration and fiscal sustainability," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 19(4), pages 671-689, October.
    10. Alexander Kemnitz, 2003. "Immigration, Unemployment and Pensions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(1), pages 31-48, March.
    11. Gallup, John, 1997. "Theories Of Migration," Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Papers 294385, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government.
    12. George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604.
    13. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
    14. Holger Bonin & Bernd Raffelhüschen & Jan Walliser, 2000. "Can Immigration Alleviate the Demographic Burden?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(1), pages 1-21, September.
    15. Silos, Pedro, 2007. "Housing, portfolio choice and the macroeconomy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2774-2801, August.
    16. Cespedes, Nikita, 2011. "A Quantitative General Equilibrium Approach to Migration, Remittances and Brain Drain," Working Papers 2011-007, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
    17. M. Dolores Collado & IÒigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe & Guadalupe Valera, 2004. "Quantifying the Impact of Immigration on the Spanish Welfare State," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(3), pages 335-353, May.
    18. van der Klaauw, Wilbert & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 2008. "Social security and the retirement and savings behavior of low-income households," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 21-42, July.
    19. Luisa Fuster & Gueorgui Kambourov & Andres Erosa, 2011. "A Theory of Labor Supply Late in the Life Cycle: Social Security and Disability Insurance," 2011 Meeting Papers 106, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. Stuart J. Wilson, 2003. "A Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis of Migration and Capital Formation: The Case of Canada," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(2), pages 455-481, April.
    21. Fedor Iskhakov, 2010. "Structural dynamic model of retirement with latent health indicator," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 13(3), pages 126-161, October.
    22. Hans M. Amman & David A. Kendrick, . "Computational Economics," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number comp1.
    23. Razin, Assaf & Sand, Edith, 2007. "The Role of Immigration in Sustaining the Social Security System: A Political Economy Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 6302, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hugo Benítez-Silva & J. Ignacio García-Pérez & Sergi Jiménez-Martín, 2011. "The effects of employment uncertainty and wealth shocks on the labor supply and claiming behavior of older American workers," Economics Working Papers 1275, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Zaiceva, A. & Zimmermann, K.F., 2016. "Migration and the Demographic Shift," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 119-177, Elsevier.
    3. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2011. "The Effects of Health Insurance and Self‐Insurance on Retirement Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 693-732, May.
    4. Murat G. Kirdar, 2012. "Estimating The Impact Of Immigrants On The Host Country Social Security System When Return Migration Is An Endogenous Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 453-486, May.
    5. Marcus H. Böhme & Sarah Kups, 2017. "The economic effects of labour immigration in developing countries: A literature review," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 335, OECD Publishing.
    6. Blundell, R. & French, E. & Tetlow, G., 2016. "Retirement Incentives and Labor Supply," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 457-566, Elsevier.
    7. Haan, Peter & Tolan, Songül, 2019. "Labor supply and fiscal effects of partial retirement – The role of entry age and the timing of pension benefits," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 14(C).
    8. Haan, Peter & Prowse, Victoria, 2014. "Longevity, life-cycle behavior and pension reform," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 178(P3), pages 582-601.
    9. Tomoaki Kotera, 2020. "Sustainability of Social Security in the Aging Economy from the Perspective of Improving Health," IMES Discussion Paper Series 20-E-12, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    10. Krieger, Tim, 2005. "Renten und Zuwanderung: Ein Überblick über neue Ergebnisse der Forschung," Arbeitspapiere der Nordakademie 2005-04, Nordakademie - Hochschule der Wirtschaft.
    11. Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreira & Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos, 2013. "The Effect of Social Security, Health, Demography and Technology on Retirement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 350-370, April.
    12. Anthony Edo & Lionel Ragot & Hillel Rapoport & Sulin Sardoschau & Andreas Steinmayr, 2018. "The Effects of Immigration in Developed Countries: Insights from Recent Economic Research," CEPII Policy Brief 2018-22, CEPII research center.
    13. Halliday, Timothy J. & He, Hui & Ning, Lei & Zhang, Hao, 2019. "Health Investment Over The Life-Cycle," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 178-215, January.
    14. Noelia Bernal & Frederic Vermeulen, 2014. "The Impact of an Increase in the Legal Retirement Age on the Effective Retirement Age," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 115-145, June.
    15. Kemptner, Daniel, 2019. "Health-related life cycle risks and public insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 227-245.
    16. Bound, John & Stinebrickner, Todd & Waidmann, Timothy, 2010. "Health, economic resources and the work decisions of older men," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 106-129, May.
    17. Jochem de Bresser & Raquel Fonseca & Pierre-Carl Michaud, 2016. "Retirement Behavior in the U.S. and Europe," Cahiers de recherche 1609, Chaire de recherche Industrielle Alliance sur les enjeux économiques des changements démographiques.
    18. de Bresser, Jochem, 2019. "The Role of Heterogeneous Expectations in Life Cycle Models : Evaluating the Accuracy of Counterfactuals," Other publications TiSEM 25d04a47-1020-47eb-ba94-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    19. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2011. "Economic Impacts of Immigration: A Survey," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    20. Ian Preston, 2014. "The Effect of Immigration on Public Finances," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 569-592, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Legal and Undocumented Immigration; Social Security; Remittances; Life-cycle Models; OLG Models; General Equilibrium Models;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_689. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elizabeth Dunn). General contact details of provider: http://www.levyinstitute.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.